North Korean nuclear tests are symptoms of an unheralded threat: not the exertion of North Korean strength, but the prospective collapse of Kim Jong Il’s government. Weakness in Pyongyang could result in desperation, a WMD attack on the South, or full-on military engagement with Seoul. Drawing on this possibility of collapse, Robert D. Kaplan discusses opportunities for:
- Reconstruction and peacekeeping among the US, China, UN, and greater Asia,
- Reunification and spheres of influence, under either a US democratic or Chinese “buffer state” model,
- Reconciliation of tensions with Japan and Russia.